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Bride who faked cancer ordered repay donors

Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - 6:50pm

A New York woman who pretended to have terminal cancer to pay for an extravagant wedding and honeymoon has been ordered to give back thousands of dollars she received from sympathetic donors.

Jessica Vega, 25, pleaded guilty last month to the scheme and was indicted on fraud and grand larceny charges as well as one misdemeanor.

After spending eight weeks in jail, Orange County Court Judge Robert Freehill ordered Vega to return the $13,368.48 she gained in gifts and donations while posing as terminally ill.

She was also sentenced to 300 hours of community service and five years of probation, according to a statement from the New York Attorney General's Office.

"I am pleased that the community members, who felt so compelled to generously help a neighbor in need, will be given back their hard earned money," Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement.

Victims of Vega's scam are expected to begin receiving compensation in the coming weeks.

Officials say the scheme lasted from January 2010 to June 2010 and involved eliciting gifts from a bridal couture shop and a high-end restaurant.

Vega was married in May 2010 after claiming she only had a few months to live. She allegedly "went to Aruba for her honeymoon with expenses paid for by people touched by her story," according to the indictment.

The man Vega married, who was not named in the indictment, is not facing charges.

Attorney General's Office spokeswoman Jennifer Givner said the man says he was not involved in the scheme.

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